Although born in Chicago, Illinois, on June 11, 1911, Josephine Miles spent most of her life in California. She earned her bachelor's degree from the University of California, Los Angeles and her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, where she spent her entire academic career and where, in 1947, she became the first woman to be tenured in the English Department.
Miles wrote over a dozen books of poetry, among them Collected Poems: 1930-1983 (University of Illinois Press, 1983), winner of the Lenore MarshallNation Prize and nominated for a Pulitzer; Coming to Terms (1983); To All Appearances (1974); Kinds of Affection (1967); Prefabrications (1955); Local Measures (1946); and Lines at Intersection (1939). She was also a well-known scholar of the conventions of grammar and vocabulary in literature and published several books on poetic style and language. Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant, a National Institute of Arts and Letters Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, The American Council of Learned Societies, and The Guggenheim Foundation. A lifelong sufferer from arthritis, Miles died of pneumonia in 1985 in Berkeley, California.A